Why Summer Swimming with Kids Stinks

Why Summer Swimming with Kids Stinks Picture

I grew up at the swimming pool. When I got to a certain age, my brother and I would wait every day until noon to go to our community pool. We would spend the day being babysat by lifeguards and enjoying ourselves with our friends. No worries, right?  It was the perfect way to spend our summers.  It is this remembrance of pleasurable time spent at the pool, which causes me to take my own kids swimming as often as possible. 

Now, with kids of my own – we don't have the luxury to live in a neighborhood with a community pool. We have instead put up one of those plastic Wal-Mart pools in our yard (which WE LOVE by the way), and on occasion go to the local beaches, pools or water parks.

The problem is that when my children are swimming, I find it entirely impossible to relax.

I spend every single minute at the pool trying to keep up with my youngest and make sure that she doesn’t swallow too much water – AND simultaneously keep an eye on my older kids, who are by now avid swimmers.

Still, when it comes to swimming, I don’t believe there is ever enough supervision.

And I know from personal experience (I was a lifeguard as a teen) that the 16-year-old lifeguard twirling his or her whistle in the lifeguard chair is probably not paying that close attention to my kids.

There is also the issue of other people’s kids at the pool. See, there are some parents who sit in their lawn chairs, eyes closed, with an umbrella drink in hand and just simply trust that their kid can navigate the water well enough. Or they put water wings on them and assume the lifeguards are watching. These parents are definitely getting in their relaxation time – while the rest of us mothers are watching the kids and praying nobody drowns.

It is also impossible as a mother at the pool to float on a raft, swim for herself and actually go under water for more than .5 seconds.  I spend all my time in the kiddie side, where the water is ankle or knee deep and feel sort of ridiculous trying to get ‘all the way wet' in 5 inches of water, (which also means that I get really hot and sticky.)

What happens is that by the time I get home, I am a nervous wreck from watching the kids swim all day. I feel like I need wine, and I don’t even drink.  And, on top of that, I am sun burnt because I remembered to put sunblock on everyone but myself. This doesn’t make for the pleasurable swimming experience that I remember as a kid.

Suffice it to say, that summer swimming with kids stinks.  For moms at least

Remind me again why I continue to go swimming with my kids? 

What do you think?

Why Summer Swimming with Kids Stinks

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Ale Ale says:


  2. Profile photo of nancyk nancyk says:

    Amen! I just had this argument with my idiot husband! He let our 6 year old go to the pool with her 14 and 13 year old cousins, assuming that she is fine because the kids and the lifeguard were watching her. Oh – and she was REALLY ok because she had waterwings on!!! When I found this out I drove 45 minutes from my house to go meet them and drag my daughter back home with me. I told him that it is not the lifeguard’s responsibility to babysit our kid- it’s his! IDIOT!

  3. Profile photo of Cara Cara says:

    Please excuse my typos! LOL!

  4. Profile photo of Cara Cara says:

    You need to relax!!!! Our jobs as parents are to teach them to be able to be capable without us. (yes, it’s hard!) I rarely use flotation devices or life jackets (unless boating) until my children can swim; it really hinders the process more than helps-FALSE sense of security and messes we how you actually learn to float. I allow them to go under or swallow water and don’t assist until i see they aren’t going to be able to recover alone. They need to learn the realness of swimming… the cause and effect of they’re actions early on. It also helps develop a healthy respect and teaches them what to do if they get in trouble. Most of the time, the process is very painless this way! 🙂

  5. Profile photo of LLand LLand says:

    We have a nice above ground pool in our back yard and also go to the beach. In our pool, 6 year old, who knows how to swim, still wears arm floats and 2 year old is in a raft that he can not tip over, and wears a learning to swim life vest.

    At the beach, both boys don’t get to go in the water without my husband or I and even then they can only go in til the water hits their knees since the waves will knock them over. Husband and I trade off on who gets to sit at the vehicle under the shade with the baby and relax every couple of hours.

    We have found something that works for us, keeps the kids safe, and even lets us enjoy seeing our kids swim. After they go to bed, it is our time in the pool to swim and relax, with baby monitor close by to listen for daughter.

  6. Profile photo of Danielle Danielle says:

    You got it Kay. My parents had me babysitting before I was a teenager. We have to give our kids more credit to make good decisions most of the time (just like adults). I say that, even though for the moment I’m one of those helicopter moms. But I promise, I’m trying to do better. I even made coffee and enjoyed it this morning while Brook played in the living room.

  7. Profile photo of marylove marylove says:

    I think it’s funny to look back now and remember how my mom was with me compaired to how I am now with my kids… Then I look at how she is with my kids and it cracks me up! She just let me do whatever around 5 or 6… I don’t let my kids do whatever but I do give them a little more freedom than I would like to… Then, there is my mom… She doesn’t leave their sides! My family and I are always telling her that they are fine and to leave them alone so they can play! lol It’s amazing to see the difference between how she was with me and how she is with her grandsons!

  8. Profile photo of marichinno marichinno says:

    kids love water and what is the best way for them to enjoy themselves and exhaust them quickly. Every time we take the kids to go swimming and they have been in there for an hour and then feed them something to eat they are ready to take a nap.

  9. Profile photo of Kay Kay says:

    You had limited supervision and turned out fine, right? If I think back to how many unsupervised moments I had as a kid, It starts to look like my parents were trying to kill one of us off. But no one died. No one even ended up in the hospital. And you know what, if we had, it could have been at a time when my parents were right there at our sides, instead of upstairs doing laundry while we chased my little brother around the coffee table or pushed him down the stairs in a laundry basket. Give yourself permission to relax. Unfortunate things will happen whether you are right there keeping an eagle eye on your kids, or 20 feet away enjoying a dip in the deep end. And you’ll feel the same amount of guilt in either situation, so go ahead and give yourself a little break. Your kids will be fine!

  10. Profile photo of lhunter lhunter says:

    I think that you want your kids to have as much fun as you did as a child thats why you continue to go. If you think about it maybe your parent(s) felt the way you feel, Hey their kids they will grow up someday;)


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